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Chokechetty Wine - how badly did I screw it up?

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TasunkaWitko

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Today, 10 March 2018, I started a new batch of Chokecherry Wine, using a recipe that worked great the last time I tried it:

Chokecherry Wine

3 pounds chokecherries
2.5 pounds sugar
1 cup golden raisins (intended to add body to the wine)
1 teaspoon acid blend
1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
Scant 1/4 teaspoon tannin
1 crushed Campden tablet
1/2 teaspoon pectic enzyme
1 package Montrachet yeast
7 pints Big Spring Water from Lewistown, Montana
At this point, following the method, I have not yet added the pectic enzyme or yeast.

One deliberate deviation from the recipe: I always seem to have a little too much water in there, so this time I used 6 pints of water; I figured that I could add more between primary and secondary, if necessary (please correct me if I am wrong).

Unfortunately, there were two unintentional deviations from the recipe: due to either miscalculation or just plain absent-mindedness, i accidentally added an extra half-pound each of chokecherries and sugar.

I normally don't bother with checking the SG - simply because this recipe works great, even if there are minor variations from batch-to-batch - but will try to remember to do so with this batch, before adding the yeast, and report on the numbers.

My question, for anyone who might know, is how badly (if at all) will this negatively impact the wine? I figure that the flavour will be more intense and (obviously) there will be more alcohol, but am not sure how much, or if it will propel me into the realm of rocket fuel, which I would rather not have.

Can anyone advise, in general, how much an extra half-pound of sugar will increase the ABV? Should I be adding more water and aiming for 1.25 gallons now, or stick with 1 gallon?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Ron
 

meadmaker1

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So did you take sg on this batch?
What yeast?
Im certain that someone here can give you some algebra to estimate alcohol provided you dont hit a yeast threshold that can very unpredictably for a thousand reasons. If you had ever taken sg and new approximately what it would be, figuring how much water to add would be simple.
 

TasunkaWitko

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Hi, guys,and thanks for the replies. The instructions that I had for this wine (from Yooper) state to check SG right before adding yeast (Montrachet), so I will be sure to do it at that time.

I suspect it will be a little higher than "normal" for the recipe, but based on Bernard's information, it doesn't sound like I will be too far out of line.
 

TasunkaWitko

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Whoops - that should say "Chokecherry" in the title, of course!
 

Scooter68

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Just be aware that Montrachet has an ABV tolerance of 15% - in my experience, (Albeit not a long time...) it's best to stay well within the stated limits since a variety of factors can impact that tolerance.
 

TasunkaWitko

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....aaaannd, I pitched the yeast in the middle of doing 3 other things (bottling beer, making supper and starting tomatoes/peppers)...and forgot to take a gravity reading; well, I remembered, but only as I was tapping the last of the yeast into the bucket. :(

Looking at the bright side, it sure smells good this morning, so I'll hope for the best and consider it a learning experience. It seemed the last couple of times I made this, I topped off and diluted a little too much anyway, so maybe this will work out. I'll be cautiously optimistic and see how it is.

I am thinking we are going to have a heck of a good year for chokecherries this year, so there's plenty of time to do it right after summer.
 

TasunkaWitko

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So far, things seem to be going well; I have been stirring the must at least once each day, and snatching a very tiny taste now and then. It's coming along pretty much the same as the last time, and I do not perceive any major differences.

I'll see how things go....

On another note: Bernard - I owe you 10 "Hail Dionysuses!"
 

meadmaker1

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If you were just pitching you could still take an sg reading, im pretty sure its not the effect of the yeast itself rather the effect that yeast has once it gets going that changes the reading
 

TasunkaWitko

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I didn't think about that at the time, but it makes good sense. Thanks ~:b
 

TasunkaWitko

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On Saturday, 17 March, I transferred the must for my latest batch of chokecherry wine from primary to secondary fermentation.

Everything looked good with it, and it the transfer went smoothly. My temperatures during primary were a couple of degrees higher than I would prefer, but very much within the tolerance of the Montrachet yeast, so all appears to be well.

I snatched a very small taste of it, and it seems almost exactly like my previous batch at this point, so I am guessing that I am either on-track or "close enough for Grandpa," who is my inspiration for this wine. It was very good, with strong chokecherry character and a nice little "zing" that I still haven't been able to describe well with words; it's like a slight spicy kick that goes extremely well with the chokecherry flavour.

I checked on it last night, and it appears to be plugging along; some sediment is starting to settle and it's beginning to show some beautiful colour. I have high hopes that this could be the best batch yet, but we shall see.
 

Jal5

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Hope you keep us informed on your progress with this one. I want to do at least one gallon of it this summer if I can "rescue" enough berries from the birds here!
 

TasunkaWitko

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Hi, jal5 - I'll definitely keep up on this thread; right now, the lees are dropping out and it looks like it is coming along nicely. This particular batch is a little heavier on both chokecherries and sugar than I intended, but the recipe I posted in my opening post is one that has worked very well. You might find some good information here, as well:

https://www.winemakingtalk.com/threads/chokecherry-wine-my-first-attempt.52740/

I should stress that I am not much of a "scientific" winemaker, so you should heed the advice of Bernard, Scooter, MeadMaker and others on the more technical aspects of winemaking - those guys know what they're doing, and are a wealth of good advice.

Chokecherry wine is wonderful stuff, in my opinion - I daresay that I'd take a glass of that over a bottle of anything that I pass by on the shelves.
 

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